Friday, 23 March 2012

dunking my biscuit

one of my favourite dunking biscuits

Saw Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and really enjoyed it. I'm always on the look out for references to tea in pop culture, so I was thrilled halfway through the movie when Judi Dench's character Evelyn explains not just Builder's Tea, but how to properly dunk a biscuit in it. Here's the exact snippet of dialogue from the film:
Evelyn: Yes
[It is builder's tea]
Evelyn: , we dunk biscuits into it.
Sunaina's Brother: Dunk?
Evelyn: Means lowering the biscuit into the tea and letting it soak in there and trying to calculate the exact moment before the biscuit dissolves, when you whip it up into your mouth and enjoy the blissful union of biscuits and tea combined. It's more relaxing than it sounds. 
I love this sort of thing.  You know I'll be doing this very thing with my biscuits the next several weeks. I suspect there'll be quite a bit of broken biscuit down at the bottom of my Builder's Tea.

The Telegraph had an article on the subject a few years ago, and went to the trouble to recommend Tea and Biscuits? Better make it a Keemun.

And I quote:

No, according to Tim Clifton, the former director of the UK Tea Council, each biscuit has a perfect brew to accompany it. He and Simon Pope, the new product development controller at Fox's Biscuits, have coauthored the Biscuit and Tea Tasting Guide.

Why haven't I heard of this until now? The Biscuit and Tea Tasting Guide is now something I must have. Immediately.

They say a Ginger Nut goes well with Chai. Wait, Ginger Nut? That's no way to talk about our Robert Godden. Oh, you meant the Ginger Nut biscuit. Oh, ok. 

If Earl Grey's your tea of choice, they say you might consider a lemon biscuit. I can see that. Nice call Biscuit and Tea Tasting Guide. You've not yet led me astray.

They only make a brief mention of chocolate-covered biscuits in the article (strong Kenyan tea to go with that one if you were wondering), and I certainly hope chocolate-covered biscuits get a bit more attention in the actual book. It wouldn't be an authoritative source otherwise, would it?

Right near the very end of the article, they offhandedly mention:

'Keemun, from eastern China, should be sipped with a caramel filled biscuit, such as Tunnock's caramel wafter, while squashed fly biscuits require Pu-erh, a nutty Chinese brew.'

That sentence could be parsed to such a degree that an entire new blogpost might result. A Tunnock's caramel wafterIf not that, then some squashed fly biscuits? Squashed flies optional, I hope.

What do you think fellow tea obsessives? Do you 'ave a favourite biscuit to go with your Builder's Tea? Incidentally, I talked about this stuff in give us a slug of that Builder's Tea, yeah? Go check it out. It's not going to hurt you.

Off to dunk my biscuit, as it were.


  1. McVitie's HobNobs are my favourites. They work with any black tea. They hold together pretty well. I think 5 seconds is the optimum dunking time. They are delicious soggy with tea, but you usually get the edge of crunch next to the dunked bit that is a combo of oat and sugar and butter. I'm going out tomorrow and buying some. Thanks for the charming post!

  2. Oh, Hobnobs were the featured biscuit that Maggie Smith's character carries with her in her carry-on luggage on the way to India. They are quite good, aren't they?

    Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. I just watched the trailer. I must see this film! I wouldn't mind turning into Maggie Smith one day...

    2. Wouldn't be such a bad way to end up, would it?

  3. builders' tea, for me, should have rich tea biscuts on the side for dunking. the skill is not just about how long to dunk, but also how long the tea is too hot to drink. dunked rich tea in hot tea is blissful, but the dunking must stop when the tea is at optimum drinking temperature.

    these are the rules, and when i am in charge there will be laws passed in parliament.